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Does DLSS Increase Latency?

DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) is a powerful NVIDIA technology that boosts frame rates in games by rendering at a lower resolution and then intelligently upscaling the image. This translates to smoother gameplay, but some gamers worry it might come at a cost: increased input latency. Latency refers to the time it takes for your actions (like a mouse click) to register on the screen, and even a few milliseconds can make a difference in fast-paced games.

So, does DLSS add unwanted lag, or can you crank up the frames without sacrificing responsiveness? Let’s explore the world of frame rates, latency, and how DLSS fits in.

DLSS and Latency

does dlss increase latency
In gaming, higher frame rates translate to quicker response times between your actions and what appears on screen

Let’s break it down. Imagine throwing a ball. The faster you catch it, the lower the latency between your throw and the catch. Similarly, in gaming, higher frame rates translate to quicker response times between your actions and what appears on screen. This is because frames are like individual snapshots in a movie – the more frames per second (FPS), the smoother and more responsive the experience feels.

Here’s where DLSS shines. By cleverly leveraging artificial intelligence, it renders high-resolution images from lower-resolution ones. This frees up your graphics card’s resources, allowing it to pump out more frames, effectively reducing latency in most scenarios.

However, there’s a catch. DLSS offers different presets, each with a varying impact on latency. Quality and Balanced presets prioritize image fidelity, requiring more processing power which could slightly increase latency compared to lower settings. Conversely, Performance and Ultra Performance modes are laser-focused on frame rates, potentially introducing a more noticeable latency trade-off for that silky smooth gameplay.

DLSS 3.0 and Frame Generation

DLSS 3.0 throws another twist into the mix. It introduces a groundbreaking feature called Frame Generation. Imagine if, between two existing frames, DLSS 3.0 creates an entirely new one. This futuristic tech delivers phenomenal frame rate boosts, but there’s a caveat: creating these new frames adds an extra processing step, potentially increasing latency compared to traditional DLSS.

It’s important to note that not all games utilizing DLSS 3.0 will necessarily activate Frame Generation. Developers have the option to enable or disable it depending on the game’s needs.

Is DLSS 3.5 Different for Latency?

With the recent release of DLSS 3.5, many gamers are curious about its impact on latency. After all, smooth and responsive gameplay hinges on minimal delays between your actions and what appears on screen. So, does DLSS 3.5 change the equation when it comes to latency? Here’s a breakdown of what we know so far.

Similarities to DLSS 3.0

Like its predecessor, DLSS 3.5 utilizes the groundbreaking Frame Generation technology. This feature remains the key factor influencing latency in DLSS 3.0 and 3.5. By creating entirely new frames between existing ones, Frame Generation delivers phenomenal frame rate boosts. However, this additional processing step can introduce a slight increase in latency compared to traditional DLSS.

Potential Improvements

does dlss increase latency

While specific details about latency changes in DLSS 3.5 are scarce at the moment, there’s room for optimism. NVIDIA constantly refines its technology, and DLSS 3.5 might bring optimizations that could mitigate the latency impact of Frame Generation. This could involve efficiency improvements in the frame creation process or better integration with other NVIDIA technologies like NVIDIA Reflex for latency reduction.

Other Factors Affecting Latency

does dlss increase latency
If your CPU is bottlenecking your graphics card, even the most powerful DLSS settings won’t magically eliminate latency issues

While DLSS plays a significant role, it’s not the only player on the latency field. Your CPU (central processing unit) also has a major say. If your CPU is bottlenecking your graphics card, even the most powerful DLSS settings won’t magically eliminate latency issues. Additionally, the game engine itself can influence latency. Some games are simply better optimized for lower latency than others.

Here’s the good news: even with a potential slight latency increase from DLSS 3.0’s Frame Generation, the overall benefit of significantly higher frame rates often outweighs the drawback for most gamers. The difference might be minuscule for many, especially when compared to the visual smoothness and responsiveness boost.

So, Does DLSS Increase Latency

So, does DLSS increase latency? The answer, like many things in PC gaming, is a nuanced “it depends.” DLSS, in its traditional form, can actually improve latency by increasing frame rates. However, DLSS 3.0’s Frame Generation might add a touch of latency, and the specific impact varies depending on the chosen preset and the game implementation.

For latency-obsessed competitive gamers, turning off DLSS or exploring alternative rendering techniques like NVIDIA Reflex might be a better option. But for the vast majority who prioritize a balance between stunning visuals and smooth gameplay, DLSS remains a powerful tool in your gaming arsenal.


Q. How much does DLSS typically affect latency?
A. The impact is usually minimal, and in many cases, DLSS can even improve latency by boosting frame rates.

Q. Should I be worried about DLSS 3.0’s Frame Generation increasing latency?
A. For most gamers, the benefits of higher frame rates likely outweigh the potential increase in latency with Frame Generation. However, if you’re a hardcore competitive player and every millisecond counts, consider disabling Frame Generation or turning off DLSS altogether.

Q. What other factors besides DLSS affect latency?
A. Your CPU, game engine optimization, and even your internet connection can all play a role in latency.

Q. Are there any alternatives to DLSS for reducing latency?
A. Yes, NVIDIA Reflex is a suite of technologies designed to minimize latency. Additionally, some games offer other rendering options that prioritize frame rate over image fidelity.

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